Living in a Bowl of Ocean

Coast Watches: Twelve Meditations

Prior: Moonset

December 17

How high the ocean’s horizon is! Coming into Newport, over the last rise of the dunes, I look down at the Bay and Bridge — the water is safely below.

But when I look ahead — there, unreasonably high is the horizon line, straight and forever, sky and sea, grey and green, blue and azure, white and cobalt, fog and fog — whatever hue and contrast, it’s always above — above eye level, or so it seems.

The ocean horizon is much higher than the hill-valley-plains horizon. And, like magic, the higher I climb the dune or cliff, the higher the ocean rises as well.

Now here as I sit, ocean higher than my eyebrows, 180 degrees around, through every window I am surrounded by sea. Sunk in a bowl of blue.

I always said the sky was a bowl of blue, a circle of stars — in South Dakota 360 degrees around — like living in a real planetarium. But I never saw the ocean as a bowl, nor lived below the ocean’s horizon, in a Bowl of Sea.

There’s a short Frost poem I’ve always loved about the land embracing the sea, an endless repetition.

But now I know it’s the sea that embraces the land, the sea that embraces me. It’s all around me. I’m up to my eyebrows in sea.

Yes, these waves that keep crashing in, are alive. They lick the rocks, caress, clean and purify.

Next: Into the Fore

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